Deepak Chopra is an MD with a practice in Boston. He is a spiritual guru who is into eastern mysticism and writes books with spiritual themes. I first learned of Chopra while I was listening to tapes by Tony Robbins some years ago. Intrigued, I bought and read three of Chopra's books: Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, and How to Know God : The Soul's Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries.
I found Chopra's books intellectually stimulating and even daring, particularly Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. However, I couldn't completely buy into them. Nevertheless, it is good to have one's perceptions challenged and stretched, and in that regard, Chopra's books were useful.
Chopra discussed "Magical Thinking" in one of his books (I forget which one). Magical thinking is our desire to fool ourselves that we can change the nature of reality with just our thoughts. Thinking young is a useful philosophy, but it can't actually make you young or reverse the aging process. In all philosophy and spirituality and the nature of existence, reality refuses to be abolished and must inevitably be taken into account. Reality can be a pain in the ass.
I was grateful to Chopra for pointing out the nature of "magical thinking" so I wouldn't be tempted into believing in fairy tales. At the same time, however, it is worth noting that we human beings do not have the complete picture of what reality is and how we fit into it. Not believing in fairy tales is one thing, but it is healthy to have an open mind about the universe and the nature of existence and our place in it. The sum total of reality is more than our perceptions born of our five rather limited physical senses. That's where Chopra shines, I think, in that he likes to probe the boundaries of what is known and what is yet unknown but possible. Basically, he's a good and decent man. I am disappointed that he has associated himself with the moonbat left of the Huffington Post.
Deepak Chopra may understand what "magical thinking" is, but he is not immune to it. Chopra is a liberal and liberals are prone to magical thinking. It explains all their well-meaning policies and projects that don't work and that do more harm than good. Chopra wrote a book that I haven't read and do not wish to read: Peace Is the Way : Bringing War and Violence to an End. When dealing with enemies who can kill you and who hope to do just that, magical thinking can be fatal. Having a peaceful philosophy or having peace in your heart, or meditating on the Kama Sutra, or burning incense, or chanting, or whatever Chopra recommends in Peace is the Way won't magically bring peace.
Liberals seem to think that we can control hostile enemies by how we think, what we believe and by holding loving and peaceful thoughts and intentions. This is magical thinking. It holds that if our intentions and attitudes are right, this will magically transform our enemies and change their enmity into love and trust. In other words, our internal thoughts and feelings control outer reality.
It isn't true.
Islamic violence isn't born of a big misunderstanding between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world; it is born of Islam itself. Islam is a violent ideology that is built upon a violent, cruel and ruthless god, Allah. Islamic scripture clearly teaches that Muslims are to violently conquer all non-Muslim peoples and forcibly convert them to the faith, or to kill them, with one caveat: if the non-Muslims will accept a humiliating status called dhimmitude, they may be allowed to live among Muslims as third-class citizens. They are required to pay a high tax for the privilege of drawing breath and may be abused, even murdered, by Muslims for almost any reason. In other words, they live on the level of slaves, in a constant state of humiliation, deprivation and anxiety for their very lives.
Recently, Deepak Chopra voiced the opinion that the Mumbai masscre by violent Muslims was the result of the War in Iraq. It was what they call "blow back." Never mind that the War in Iraq liberated millions of Muslims from a ruthless dictatorship and greatly improved their lives in the process. However, the point is moot. Muslims have been murdering Indians for centuries, particularly Hindus, and U.S. foreign policy had nothing to do with it. Hindus, not being Muslims, were an automatic target. Anywhere from 60 to 80 million Hindus have been slaughtered by Muslims over the centuries. Mumbai was just another installment in the continuing saga of Islam.
The truth is that Deepak Chopra's opinion was based on his personal politics, not on his informed knowledge of facts. It was intellectually dishonest. It had an agenda other than truth. He referred to the Iraq war as "disasterous." It has proven disasterous only to al-Qaeda.
For these reasons, Chopra has deserved the flood of criticism his comment invoked.